Germany's Deutsche Bank on Monday began cutting 18,000 jobs, marking the end of a long, failed attempt to compete with the planet's investment banking giants. The bank plan unveiled Sunday aims to take Deutsche Bank "back to our roots" by refocusing on traditional strengths like serving corporate customers and wealthy individuals and cutting down on its stock-trading business and fixed-income investments. Investors gave a wary response on Monday, however, pushing shares down 5% to $7.68 in Frankfurt. CEO Christian Sewing said the job cuts will last until 2022, and no geographical breakdown of the cuts was given; Deutsche Bank had nearly 91,500 employees at the end of March, reports the AP. The BBC reports some traders in London stayed home after being told their passes wouldn't function after 11am.
The Guardian was outside the trading floor at 60 Wall Street and describes "grim-faced Deutsche employees" exiting the building as "extremely tight-lipped, and refusing to talk to reporters." Deutsche Bank's move into investment banking dates to 1989, when it took over Morgan Grenfell, and the 1999 takeover of Bankers Trust. It was part of an ambition to become one of the global banking giants, like JPMorgan or HSBC. But things went wrong in the financial crisis as Deutsche Bank cut slowly and modestly, unlike other banks. It wrestled for years with high costs, weak profits, and a low share price and paid billions in fines and settlements related to behavior before and after the global financial crisis. "We tried to compete in nearly every area of the banking market at the same time," Sewing said Monday. "We simply spread ourselves too thin."
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